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Barry Windsor-Smith Conan Archives Volume 2 Hardcover – May 18, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books; First Edition edition (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595825061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595825063
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Volume 2 is different from Volume 1 in that it doesn't collect issues in order - we get Conan the Barbarian issues 12 to 16, then issues 19-24, published between December 1971 and March 1973, with various other Conan tidbits published at other times, along with a covers collection. Fine.
In "Dweller In The Dark", Conan gets kidnapped by Arab-looking soldiers to become a demented queen's boy toy; when she tires of him, he gets thrown to the spider pit to be eaten by an octopus creature - a thing that was once human - that Conan escapes, only to toss the queen into the pit with it. Nice. In "Web of the Spider God", Conan helps an oppressed people free themselves from becoming Spider God food. Great dialogue here: "Don't take me, holy one - not me! Take my wife - my sons - but not me!!" Conan battles the giant beast, wounding it, the city blows up!! Issue 14 and 15 are crossover tales - Conan meets Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone, they battle evil sorcerers resurrecting an eldrich proto-goddesses of green evil. Great. Moorcock also plotted the tale. Zephra and Zulkala re-enter the story here, now both of them on the side of our Cimmerian. Sure. Conan rides to aid Zulkala, he encounters Elric, they battle to a standstill and then become reluctant allies (especially when Conan sees Elric's swords drinking the souls of the fallen). They fight demon hordes together until they reach the golden palace that is their destination and fight off the evil resurrected goddess. Issue 16 recounts the tale of "The Frost Giant's Daughter", the art is stunning. Issue 19 starts a four-issue run where Conan sails to war, first fighting one side, before he is betrayed, then joining the other he is betrayed again.
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Format: Hardcover
It's too bad that what could have been a major publishing event as regards the Barry Windsor Smith Archives: Conan, volumes 1 and 2, was ruined by Dark Horse (twice!)

Seems that Mike Richardson and his editors never got to read the article entitled 'Still Waiting For The Absolute BWS Conan Volumes' published in Spectrum Super Special #3 (2005; Win-Mill Productions) which commented on the earlier DH trade paperbacks collecting the Marvel Conan stories in sequence. .. and its garish digital recoloring by people who likely never saw the original printings to discover the details, and somber mood, the deft coloring revealed.

This article also contains a letter from BWS that laments that no one asked him to oversee the process to get the coloring right - he reveals who the [uncredited] colorists were for all the Marvel BWS Conan comics - in most cases himself!

Mimi Gold - issues 1-5, 7, 8
Stan Goldberg - 6
Mimi and BWS - 9-13
BWS - 14-16, 19, 20, 24 [doesn't know who did 21-23]

Also, BWS colored the Red Nails color version in Marvel Treasury #4, as well as adding additional detail work on the splash page, and other panels for this over-sized presentation, and re-inking himself the last pages of part one (originally inked by Pablo Marcos)

So what do they do when they have a chance to correct their error? Due to their either never having gotten this precious information, or worse, ignoring it, Dark Horse again used that crappy digital coloring in these recent hardcovers, making the use of the name 'Barry Windsor Smith Archives: Conan' on these tomes a lie - after all, if they were to enshrine his work for these stories, how could they NOT include his coloring which was conceived in conjunction with the art???
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The main reason this book doesn't get the full 4 stars is the same complaint that a lot of these modern reprints have been garnering. The new coloring techniques tend to mask a lot of the finer details of Smith's fine lines. Still, I've become somewhat accustomed to this now as other collected trades have this problem as well so I won't penalize Dark Horse to much for this.

Barry Smith, artistically mature at this point, is at his peak with the Conan run. The last issue of the run in particular (#24 Song of Red Sonja) and Red Nails part 1 and 2 are the notable highlights. These stories hold up even today in my opinion. If there's any disappointment, I just wish they included the unedited version of "The Frost Giants Daughter" that was originally published in Savage Tales 1 instead of the tamer version that was reprinted in Conan 16. The same goes for the fore mentioned "Song of Red Sonja". They included the version that was originally published with issue #24, but a couple of panels were redrawn (presumably by John Romita) to cover up the racier bits. Not a big deal, but for the sake of completeness, they should have went with Smith's unedited version that was reprinted in Marvel Treasury Edition 15.

On the topic of completeness, it's really to bad they didn't or were not allowed to reprint the six art prints from Smith's Tupenny Conan portfolio. You can Google this to see what I'm referring too. It's perhaps Smith's best work featuring Conan.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great collection and I'm glad I got it. Other reviewers point out the facts and the positives so I thought I'd mention a couple of slight negatives. The pin-up from issue 22 is missing. The introduction is taken from Chronicles Volume 2. Therefore it only discusses material up to issue #16. Why not edit it together with the intro from Volume 3 so that it would actually cover the material presented in Archives Volume 2?
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